Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stamp Collecting :: a metaphor for the bits of wisdom we peel off experience ::

When I was young I collected stamps. You got the envelopes with the stamps on them and soaked them for a while and then you could gently pull the stamp off, dry it, and add it to your collection.

Now I collect wisdom like stamps stuck on the envelopes of experience. Some envelopes are heavy and ugly and it takes a while to get the stamp to the place where it will come off.

It's been a dramatic summer. I've felt more discouraged, depressed and hopeless than about any time I can remember. I've also realized some important things about myself and my life. I feel like I'm a car getting worked on during a long pitstop, or a guy being prodded and operated on by a talented but very focused doctor. I'm looking for the stamps I can peel from the envelopes of these experiences.

I stepped back from music and JRL. What was going on there? It registered on a number of levels. God was leading me to do some letting go and prioritizing. I needed to step back to see how deeply discouraged I was about my progress in music. I had expected to be much farther along than I am now -- with my music having a larger influence than it's had. I am coming to terms with what it would take to make the leap to the next level in the music world -- money, connections, hired help -- things I don't currently have.

Another stamp I'm peeling off the envelope of this hard summer is this: I'm still an independent, headstrong person. It's hard for me to realize when I need help or can't do something alone. I see this pattern in my marriage, my friendships, my leadership and my music. And I'm starting to change. God is gracious. These wisdom stamps take longer to soak (I've got a number of them in the water right now), but with a little help from God and my friends, it's happening, and the collection is growing.

I look forward to trading stamps with the rest of you the next time we connect.